Europe ICIS daily price index down sharply on aromatics rout

Author: Nigel Davis


LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS daily price index for Europe fell dramatically this week amid a collapse in aromatics pricing.

.ICIS daily price indexes in March

Percentage change to 26 March 2020 US Asia Europe Global
Day 5.1 -1.4 -0.3 -1.3
Week -2.8 -7.1 -28.9 -8.2
Month -27.8 -27.4 -61.2 -29.9

Daily prices for benzene and styrene have cratered over the past month on the plunge in crude oil and feedstock naphtha prices, as well as the demand shock from the coronavirus outbreak.

Spot prices for benzene, the critical component of the Europe daily price index alongside styrene, in March more than halved in less than 24 hours on Tuesday (24 March) on the back of collapsing demand, ICIS reported.

“It’s amazing to see benzene prices below naphtha,” a buyer said.

“As far as I understand, demand is very weak so some sellers wished to move material.”

Another player attributed the plunge to not only a near-eradication in demand but also to “panic as well... Maybe overreaction?”

Prices reported daily worldwide generally have been on a steep downward trend.

As an example, ethylene prices in the US on Thursday (26 March) were flat day on day at the lowest level seen in 34 years of reporting by ICIS.

While the most significant regional daily price index falls have taken place in Europe, the indexes for the US and Asia are also down sharply.

Over the course of the past month, the indexes for northeast Asia and the US have both dropped around 27%.

The global index fall is closer to 30%.

*The following petrochemicals are included in the ICIS daily indexes:
Northeast Asia: Benzene, Toluene, Ethylene, Propylene, Styrene
Northwest Europe: Benzene, Styrene
US: Benzene, Toluene, Mixed Xylenes, Ethylene, Propylene

Front page picture: ICIS news story on European styrene spot prices posting on 24 March their largest ever intra-day fall

Visit the ICIS coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.